Sexting teens more likely to be having unprotected sex: study
According to a new US study, teens who "sext", send sexually explicit texts or images, are seven times more likely to be sexually active as well as more prone to taking sexual risks, such as having unprotected sex.
The study analyzed self-reported behaviors from more than 1,800 students in Los Angeles, California, between the ages of 12 and 18. The findings also revealed that subjects whose friends sexted were 17 times more likely to sext themselves, seeing it as a "normal" behavior.
"It's surprising in some ways that sexting isn't an alternative to risky sexual behaviors, it's part of the [same] landscape," said study author Eric Rice, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California.
"I don't want to be alarmist, but I do think that parents who suspect their kids are sexting should be aware of the probability their kids are involved in other sexual behavior as well," he adds. "They probably should worry insofar as it's likely their teens are sexually active and not using birth control."
The study is published online September 17 in the journal Pediatrics.
Sexting is on the rise among teens, with more than one in four, or 28 percent, admitting to having sent a naked picture of themselves via text or email, according to recent study from the University of Texas Medical Branch Health in Galveston in the US. Plus those teens who engaged in sexting were also found to be as much as 82 percent more likely to be having sex compared to the non-sexting teens. That study, which polled 948 public high school students, is published in this month's issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.